Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Simple Thing - A Happy Reader

It's preached ad infinitum: the simple thing, do it, live it, praise it. For a writer it's often left unsaid what the "it" is. Let's take a crack.

It's simple to write about the tried and true, chase the hot fad. However, it's usualy counterproductive. Ask the author with the wastebasket of rejection slips attached to vampire pages.

How does one not follow a trend. First, stop. Second, think. Third, experiment. An author's desk surely has large paper clips scattered about or horded in a drawer. What use can be made of them other than clipping printed draft pages together until that chapter is finalized. And, by finalize, the smart author knows a rubber band for loose pages is the better method for publisher submission than paper clips. The leftover paper clips can be bent into holiday ornament hangers, while a stray one or two can manage unruly hairstyles.

Other everyday writing aids, pre-computer definitely, can have uses not stated by the manufacturer. Liquid correction fluid becomes a common solution to scuffed shoes when that personal publishing house interview is obtained. Binder clips might be the granddaddy for multiple uses. They can be seen holding bags closed, i.e., those chips munched on at two in the morning, clipping a reminder note to the vehicle visor, keeping tubes of paste rolled up, and, of course, maintaining tidy coiffures.

So when writing and the heroine/hero needs to keep a hair strand out of those gorgeous, sexy eyes for an extended period, amaze or comfort the reader with a paper or binder clip. If the reader hasn't come across this particular usage, haven't you created a moment where the reader thinks you're a creative genius. And, if a mystery, that clip foreshadows a later more critical use, e.g., the villain who thinks it hilarious and tosses it aside leaves a damning fingerprint fragment or a DNA sample.

Other than crime clues, everyday objects can become a symbol of a character quirk, fetish, red herring or point for humor. What does sucking a paper clip say that sucking a toothpick doesn't? Was the infant death by ingested paper clips accidental, negligent or murderously intentional by a distraught parent or caregiver.

When done thinking of 101 uses for a paper clip in your romance, adventure, western, saga, and/or paranormal, experiment. Do it until you begin to read dozens of stories with fantastic paper clip uses. Then stop. It's a fad. Remember, we don't follow fads. Now take out a piece of scrap paper and, for an exercise, scribble frantically how you can use the rubber band in your writing. Don't get too attached to the actual rubber band before you for it'll be mailed off to that editor adoring your story.


No comments:

Post a Comment